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Child abuse in India: Are existing solutions any good?

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By Swati Gilotra

New Delhi: According to “2007 Study on child abuse: A report by Ministry of Women and Child Development (Govt. of India)”, 53.22% children in India faced one or more forms of sexual abuse and two out of every three children is being physically abused. The report indicates that 50.2% children worked seven days a week. Adding salt to the festering wound is that out of 69% children physically abused in 13 sample states, 54.68% were boys. While equal percentage of both girls and boys reported emotional abuse, 48.4% of girls wished they were boys.

We need to think on the issue that if these girls had been boys, would their problem not exist at all? Considering the almost equal percentage of children being abused, would it be easier for girls if they were boys or vice-versa? Or, is this problem penetrating deep into the psyche of the child where she cannot think about another or, may be, a better alternative?

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Photo credit: dnaindia.com

The survey includes the definition of child abuse by World Health Organization (WHO). It revealed that although the term may be understood differently through diverse perceptions but in Indian context particularly, it includes any or all of these categories– physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect.

The solution which the report provides is that education can bridge the gap between their vulnerability and self-protection. Sensitization of child rights should fall in place rather than sensationalization of the issue. The children should be protected from the stigma attached to abuse and they should be prevented from being re-victimized.

These imbalances need to be addressed. Poverty alleviation schemes specifically targeting families of working children or families which both willingly or unwillingly send their children to work in order to fulfill their basic needs, should be formalized. State-level guidelines and protocols should be formulated wherein accountability on the part of government, non-government and civil society should be implemented for the rehabilitation of child domestic workers. The process of healing should make them feel empowered.

The larger, and the most important question remains: How should we deal with rehabilitation of these young children? Is just admitting them to rescue homes the best solution?

I believe better awareness, in civil society, along with proper education about the illegality and inhumaneness of the issue would be able to reduce the pain to a certain extent. This is not a sudden solution, it might take time. Accountability on the part of governments as well as NGOs would go a long way in bringing relief to these children.

These children have gone through hell and rescue homes are not great places either. The NGOs as well as such homes need to address the emotional trauma that these kids have gone through. Counseling just for the sake of it wouldn’t help these children.

Read more on this issue: Child labour: Can the ‘abused’ dream?

 

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Childhood Maltreatment Strongest Risk Factor for Depression in Adulthood: Lancet

The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome

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Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression. Pixabay

Facing trauma in childhood can significantly change the structure of the brain, which may result in severe depression which could even be recurrent in adulthood, say researchers.

The results from MRI scan images suggest that both childhood maltreatment and recurring depression are associated with similar reductions in the surface area of the insular cortex, part of the brain that regulates emotion and self-awareness.

This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, which found childhood maltreatment one of the strongest risk factors for major depression in adulthood.

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Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. Pixabay

“Given the impact of the insular cortex on brain functions such as emotional awareness, it’s possible that the changes we saw make patients less responsive to conventional treatments,” said lead researcher Nils Opel from the University of Munster in Germany.

The study included 110 patients aged 18 to 60 years. Of the 75 patients who experienced a relapse, 48 had experienced one additional episode, seven reported two episodes, and six experienced three episodes.

Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression.

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This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. Pixabay

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The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome.

Future psychiatric research should therefore explore how the findings could be translated into special attention, care and treatment that could improve patient outcomes, the study noted. (IANS)